Bone Fracture First Aid

Bone facture (or broken bone) occurs when enough force is applied to a bone to disrupt its structure break it.

A dislocation occurs when the bones on either side of a joint move out of their normal placement with one another. Either of the bones involved in a dislocation may also be fractured.

Bone Fracture Symptoms

One or more of the following may indicate that a fracture or dislocation has taken place:

  • swelling
  • deformity
  • moderate to severe pain
  • localized tenderness
  • poor function or movement of the involved area

Bone Fracture Treatment

  • Avoid putting pressure or weight on the affected area.
  • Gently splint the affected area to reduce pain and prevent further damage. Splints should be applied across at least one joint above and below the suspected fracture. Elbows should be supported on a pillow, and suspected arm or shoulder injuries should be placed in a sling while the person is taken to the emergency room. A leg may be splinted by carefully binding it to the other leg with a towel placed between them. Toes and fingers usually do not require splinting but should be protected until they’re examined by a doctor.
  • If the neck appears to be involved, the person should not be moved without a backboard and neck brace, which will normally be provided by an emergency transport team.
  • Don’t try to set or realign fractures or dislocations. Significant additional injury can occur through inappropriate movement of an injured limb.
  • If possible, cover any open wounds to try to prevent further contamination.
  • Take your child to his physician or the nearest emergency room for treatment.

Open Fractures

With this type of injury one end of a fractured bone is protruding through the skin.

Open Fracture Treatment

Cover the wound (using a sterile dressing, if available) and take the person to an emergency facility immediately. Don’t give the person anything to eat or drink, because surgery will likely be required.


In order for bones to move properly in relation to one another, the joint spaces between adjacent bones are bridged by strong but flexible fibrous bands called ligaments that help keep the bones in proper alignment. A sudden and forceful twisting motion can cause a sprain the stretching or tearing of a ligament pain when moving or putting weight on the affected joint

  • swelling and often a bluish discoloration

Since sprains are more common in adults than in children and since it may be difficult to determine if a fracture is present merely by looking at an injured arm or leg, these symptoms should be evaluated by a physician.

Sprain Treatment

The simple acronym RICE can help you remember what to do following a sprain:

  • Rest the injured area.
  • Ice or cold packs can decrease swelling and pain, but their contact with skin should be limited to 20 minutes out of every hour. Compression, such as an elastic wrap around the affected area, can also reduce swelling and pain. This should not be tight enough to cause discomfort, numbness, or tingling.

Elevate the injured area as much as possible for 24 hours since this will also help reduce uncomfortable swelling.